a group of people in a ride

Imagine an immersive world where everything around you is based on Nintendo, points are flying through the air and interactions with the best games are at every turn. It’s not a dream, or a part of the amusing groups who zip through the streets of Tokyo on go-karts dressed as characters, it’s the reality of the soon to open Nintendo World at Universal Studios Theme Park in Osaka, Japan.

After covid-19 delays, the park is imminently close to opening, and every Mario fan around the world will soon be able to live out their fantasy of “a life sized, living video game” alongside Yoshi, Mario, Koopa Troopa’s, Princess Peach and the whole gang.

a video game of a video game

Nintendo World Japan

It’s hard to imagine any gaming surface which captured hearts and minds more than Nintendo, and a game series more than Super Mario. Zooming in further: Mario Kart.

When the world gets back to safely moving across borders again, visitors to Japan will enjoy a new enticement, at the Nintendo World Theme Park, where real life Mario Kart is just one of the many joys. You’ll slip past banana peels while zipping around Bowser, and in true Mario fashion, there’s a few courses to test.

Fear not, rest of the world. Nintendo also plans to launch parks with immersive Mario Kart in California and Singapore, in the not-so-distant future.

a red bridge over water

Wearable wristbands and app based interaction will allow guests to earn points, and turn their real life movements into virtual gaming. You can even punch enemies and yes, there are power up points too. There’s an awesome YouTube video of the park, with an exclusive look at the full immersive experience lead by Shigeru Miyamoto himself.

You know, the casual guy who essentially invented Mario, and the Legend of Zelda and is the Director of Nintendo Games. No big deal…

So when is this epic real life game opening? Osaka is currently in a lockdown, which is delaying the February 4th planned opening date, slightly. That won’t impact many fans outside of Japan, since the country is still closed to most outside visitors, but it will impact the number of initial tickets sold and offered.

When Will Japan Reopen So I Can Go?

Japan has indicated plans to begin reopening to international visitors ahead of the rescheduled 2020 Olympic Games, now set to take place in the summer of 2021. The Nintendo World Park in Osaka is likely to still open in later February, or perhaps March, and locals will enjoy a few months without international competition for tickets.

For international visitors, the second half of 2021 is a likely timeline to get a chance to experience things first hand, and the later the safer. Osaka is too often overlooked by visitors, and Mario Kart may help change that. Reliving childhood fantasies sounds pretty awesome right about now, right?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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